Guwahati,Jan 14 (UNI)A 50-strong herd of wild elephants have reached the outskirts of Jorhat last night, after destroying paddy fields in Lakhimpur and is now terrorising the town's people here.
The herd of elephants, originally from Aruanchal Pradesh, rampaged paddy fields in Lakhimpur on the other side of the river Brahmaputra, and later moved southwards until they reached ninth spar near Neematighat.
Forest sources here said that they had covered about 120 kms and crossed several layers of thick human habitation before entering the world's biggest river Island Majuli, causing small streams out of river Brahmaputra on the northern bank.
As the water level receded and streams became narrower and shallow, the herd simply swam across the river to the Southern bank of the river and reached the town.
The forest department will now have to shepherd the elephants back to their original habitat with the help of trained elephants.
The herd will have to swim through two canals of the river Brahmaputra and cross thick human habitation to reach the slopes of Himalayas in Arunachal Pradesh.
Alternatively, the department will have to shepherd the herd through the southern bank and cross the 200-km Brahmaputra river to reach Dibru Saikhowa reserve forest on the edge of the Tinsukia district.
However, since both these processes are cumbersome, forest officials are presently letting the herd take its own decision as to what they want to do.
Almost four years back, a similar situation occurred, when an entire herd of elephants had to be shepherded back to the Dibru-Saikhowa forest in a two and half months operation.
UNI MT LL SS1829